North Yorkshire County Council is looking for families who can play a vital part in supporting some of the vulnerable young people it cares for through its innovative No Wrong Door (NWD) programme.
NWD is a new way of providing support to young people who are in the care system, replacing traditional council-run homes with hubs that combine residential care with fostering. There are two hubs in North Yorkshire, one in Scarborough to serve the east of the county and one in Harrogate to serve the west.
It is designed to break the traditional cycle of young people who enter the care system as teenagers, following a path of multiple placements, insufficiently planned periods in residential care and placement breakdown. These experiences can make young people become increasingly vulnerable, sometimes developing high risk-taking behaviour, including substance misuse. It can also lead to a lack of interest in education, and they may often go missing.
“Central to the success of the NWD programme are community family foster carers” said County Councillor Janet Sanderson, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Children’s Services. “These community families take young people from the hubs on short term to medium term placements, working with them to help them develop the confidence and skills needed to return to living in a family environment.
“Carers in hub community families benefit from full training to equip them to act as specialist foster carers. They also have the opportunity to develop their caring skills as they work as part of a dedicated professional team”.
Every young person in the NWD programme has a key worker who sticks with them through thick and thin to make sure they get the right services at the right time, and in the right place to meet their need. Each hub also has a team of specialists trained to focus on solutions rather than problems and includes a life coach, who is a clinical psychologist, a supportive police role and a speech and communications therapist.
The community family carers can also work paid shifts in the hubs, giving them an additional opportunity to develop a bond with a young person before they look after them. The young person often then feels able to go and live as a foster child with that carer, until they are ready and able to move to independent living.
This sort of success is great for the young people in the NWD programme, but it does mean that community families at times move on with the young person into the County Council’s mainstream fostering service, Fostering North Yorkshire, so there is an ongoing need to replace them.
Community family foster carers have to register as self-employed so they can receive a generous financial allowance equivalent to an annual salary of £35,000 (when they have a young personliving with them) plus the opportunity to do shifts in the residential hub, paid at £10.60 per hour.
If you think that working as a community family foster carer with the No Wrong Door team might be for you, please contact Janice Nicholson, Residential and Edge of Care Service Manager, on 01609 535695 for an informal chat or contact the NWD team by email at email@example.com.